One of my online forums encourages members to post prayer requests. In recent days, there’s been a thread asking prayers for a little girl who got enticed into a neighbor’s house for several hours. Without giving too many details, when she was retrieved from the house, the male of the household was high on multiple controlled or illegal substances, and subsequent tests revealed the girl had been molested.
The girl needs prayers, as do the other children found at the house, as do the parents. At some point while reading through that thread, I realized, the perpetrator needs prayers too.
And then my uncomfortable thought: God loves that man.
That man who lured a little girl into his house and subjected her to degrading and horrible activities, that man who was neglecting his own kids while he attended to his own lust and his own need to feel more powerful than someone, is loved by God.
As a human being, I want to say the perpetrator needs to be flayed alive. But God loves him. Of course the man should be locked in jail and never allowed near a child again, and he should “pay his debt to society” by whatever means the legal system demands. I’m not even hinting that what he did was right, or that we should let criminals off the hook. I’m just saying the unfathomable: that he’s loved by God.
You’ll respond, “It’s easy for you to think that: it’s not your daughter.” You’re right. If it were my daughter, I’d be wanting to kill that man myself. My emotions wouldn’t negate God’s, though.
It’s also humbling to think that in God’s eyes, my sin is the same as this man’s sin. All sin is offensive and mars our souls. God loves me anyhow. God loves this guy, much as what he did was monstrous and and as much as I want to say he deserves to rot in hell.
I do believe no one is beyond redemption while still alive, and of course the man’s soul is not in a good way right now. It’s easy to imagine God loving this man if he were to repent and try to make amends with the little girl and her family (from the distance of his jail cell — that’s a very important part of this whole equation, the civil and legal penalties).
On the other hand, it’s very uncomfortable for me to consider that whole “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” angle, that God loves this man now, wants him to come home now, is saddened by the separation of this man’s soul from him now, before he’s repented and before he’s shown any signs of remorse.
Please pray for the little girl and her family. If you’re a better person than I am, you might be able to pray for the man who victimized her.
uncomfortable, agreed. amazing, too – if that man were the only one who needed to be saved (for whatever reason) Christ still would have died just for him. all sin the same. all souls loved the same. i can see the tears on the face of Christ as He waits for this man (me) holding His arms out with loving forgiveness. but the guilt and the despair when he (i) realizes fully the devastation that acts outside of God’s will bring. that is the pain of hell.
I am not a better person than you, and I can’t pray for him at all. You see, I do not believe in redemption for certain people. Some people are UNREDEEMABLE. I understand the dichotomy here…the human versus the faithful.
But to me, I just can’t do it. The little girl will be there. The other guy…just isn’t worth my time.
He may well be unredeemable, Jason. And that’s even more tragic if you think about it. At least if he were able to turn his life around and atone somehow, this guy’s life wouldn’t be an unrelenting waste.
But at one point, you’d agree, he was a kid himself and lovable? Before he turned into the guy who got hauled away in handcuffs for harming a little girl beyond what decent folks can imagine? The loss of that person in the past is tragic.
The best I’ve been able to do is pray for “everyone affected by that situation” and hope it might cover the guy.
I’m not better than you, but I will pray for him. I pray he breaks the cycle. I pray guilt for his past crimes does not make him see himself as unredeemable — not that he’s to forget them, but they shouldn’t stand so large that he gives up. I pray that he earns redemption, in whatever way God deems right.
I pray for the people who brought him into the cycle. I pray for those trying to get him out of it. I pray for those stuck in it. I mourn for the lost potential for good.
I pray for Jan, whose young teenage daughter ran off with a man. I’m not sure the details, but she came back wiser and with no lasting scars I can see. Jan, however, went back to school to learn to help the abusers so the cycle doesn’t continue. Given the health problems that have plagued her since then, I think Someone is trying to interfere. God does not make people sick for trying to help the wrong person.
I want to tear him limb from limb and lock him up forever, not to mention horrible withdrawal from the drugs and certain related surgical intervention, but I will pray for him because he needs help.
This is the hard part of being a Christian: Jesus said to hate the sin but love the sinner. Praying for him is the least way to love him. Jesus would still have died for him even if the man would never choose to repent. I can’t even begin to fathom that depth of unconditional love.
And knowing that there are addictions involved – aren’t these the types of demons that will only come out through prayer and fasting? Would you fast to help him?
I will pray for the girl. I’m probably a worse person than Jason. For the man, I will pray G-d hand him promptly to Lucifer.
To be honest, it sounds like the enemy already has the guy well in hand.
Jenni, right now I *can’t* fast because I’m breastfeeding. When the baby gets older and begins eating a bit on his own, I can resume doing “half-fasts” but fasting while nursing is just a bad idea in general.
I thought the ones that only came out through prayer and fasting were the self-destructive/mute ones, though. This guy’s visiting destruction on a helpless child, not himself (although assuming the criminal justice system works as intended, he’s pretty much destroyed the next several years of his life and quite possibly his family.)
Sorry, meant that to be a rhetorical question. 🙂
I was just realizing that long before he victimized the little girl, he was a victim himself (by choosing drugs). I don’t condone his actions, I don’t think he has an excuse, I’m just seeing the extremely sad side of sin in a person’s life.
Yet, there is also mercy for this person. There will be prayers for the little girl, God can give her a complete healing (emotionally, mentally, etc) and if she will let Him, He can use what happened to her as a powerful ministry in some way.
And just as I believe that, I believe that God can turn the man’s life around. Forgiveness doesn’t wipe out the consequences, but maybe God can use this to make him see just how far he’s fallen but that even he is not beyond the reach of such infinite Love.
Rhetorical or not, it’s a good question. Sometimes you can’t put your heart into something, but you can put your body into it. You know? (I’m packing my house right now. I don’t *want* to put my books in storage. But I’m still putting them in boxes. The shelves will be empty at the end. Same deal.)
Someone who chooses habit-forming mind-altering drugs isn’t my definition of a victim. He’s done it to himself. There are other ways of coping with life’s pain than to check out that way, particularly when it endangers the children in one’s care. (His own kids were with him when he was found, all wide awake and running wild at midnight.)
God can give the girl complete healing, but it may not come until she stands before Him at the end of her life. From what I understand, this kind of experience has very powerful aftershocks, and she’ll revisit the trauma every time she reaches a new stage of her life or a new level of understanding.
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